Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tom Green, in memoriam

Tom Green died yesterday morning. Among many other accomplishments (see Tom was the “factotum” of the original PHILOSED listserv, from about 1988 to about 1994 (correct me if I’m wrong with the dates). I will remember the intense discussions we had on PHILOSED in those days with extreme fondness. It was, for many of us, the community of scholars that we craved. PHILOSED was the first serious use of technology for building community in the philosophy of education community. In that sense, it was the honored ancestor of this blog.

Tom's guidance and moderation (in both senses of the word) were critical in the formation of ways of thinking of a whole generation of philosophers of education (and their mentors, I think). He could be irascible, irreverent, impetuous. But he was also brilliant, and kind, and generous.

Tom’s book, Predicting the Behavior of the Educational System, (Syracuse University Press, 1980) was one of the most important books on education that I have ever read. The idea that the “expansion” of education to new audiences would likely cause a decrease in quality and/or valuation of the outcomes was revolutionary then, and still. His article, "The Formation of Conscience in an Age of Technology," American Journal of Education 94, no. 1 (1985): 1-32, was critical in the late-20th century turn from seeing morality as a special arena of life to understanding "conscience of craft" as the foundation of professional ethics for all.

By the way, PHILOSED continues to exist, with me as the titular "list owner," although it is not as critical a venue for discussion as it once was. For more information on the list or to join, see

A memorial service is tentatively planned for Jan. 4th in Syracuse.

Update (12/29/06: Arrangements are now complete for the memorial service for Professor Emeritus Thomas F. Green. The service will be held at Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church, 5299 Jamesville Road, Dewitt, NY at 2 p.m. on January 4, 2007.

Donations in lieu of lowers may be made to Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church or to the Syracuse University School of Education, 230 Huntington Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244-2340, Thomas F. Green Scholarship Fund.

Tom's obituary and a guest book for comments can be accessed at His obituary appeared on December 28th or the site can be searched by name.

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